Sitting at your desk and working prolonged hours has become the norm of the day. We all know how unhealthy it is. And yet, we do it day after day thinking that we may somehow beat the statistical odds.
While long desk jobs increases the risk to type 2 diabetes, causes weight gain and dry eyes, one simple statistic tips everything else – You are 60% more likely to die earlier! Most geeks look up on the 40% and believe that the occasional walk to the kitchen to grab a bagel can offset the balance but the truth is that we need at least one hour’s of work out if we have a 9 to 5 desk job. The question then is where do we find the 25th hour in our already pressed 24 hour work day? The answer is simple. You don’t. Instead, all you need to do is to incorporate some minor life style changes which will help you stay fit and lose weight; and multi task efficiently by exercising during your work hours without leaving your desk. Don’t think that’s possible? All you need is a little discipline to tide you through and make it a habit. Here’s how
1. Walk a little, jump a little
Walking as they say is the best exercise. If you commute to work every day, tether in an additional 15 minutes to get off one bus stop early or park your car a few blocks away so that you can do a quick brisk walk. Do this wearing your walking shoes for the added benefit (You may need to keep a couple of pairs of shoes in office or carry them along).
If you work from home, then you’ll need to at least pace around your room for a good 15 – 20 mins before you start work. As geek as you may be, you can spend the pacing time devising strategic decisions related to work, practicing pitches for sales and simply planning your day in detail.
Did you know that the word exercise comes from the Latin exercere, meaning to keep busy or at work? While there is no dearth of work to keep us busy, you can multi task exercise with work without leaving your seat. “We are made to move, not sit at a desk 12 hours a day,” says Joan Price, author of The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book. Start by doing some simple stretching and muscle strengthening exercises for your neck and back. You can stretch your arms to the side, top and front and hold the stretch for a few seconds. Ideally do this at a time when you are staring at a blank page with the cursor blinking and you are wondering what to do next. Or do it at the end of the task at hand when you want to just review it with a fresh perspective before hitting the submit button.
3. Do 60-sec aerobics
While every minute at work is swamped, the key here is to glance at the clock and take off exactly 60 seconds. We can’t begin to tell how much you’ll appreciate it at the end of the day.
Start with a quick football drill of running in place with your knee up or for beginners just march in place. Similarly you can do jumping jacks or jump a pretend rope for 1 minute before getting back to work. It’ll leave you pumped up and ready. Take a longer route to the canteen when you are out to grab your green tea and do a brisk walk. You can even do this when you find the conference room empty.
4. Do strength building sessions
The flip side of the 60-sec aerobics session is that if your phone rings in between, you’ll sound like a pack of dogs have been chasing you. Not the best thing to happen if it’s your client or boss on the other end.
As such, there are over 300 strengthening exercises that can be equally beneficial and leave you less breathless.
If you are standing at the coffee machine, you can do one-leg squats while you decide what you want. You can do some desk pushups, or work your chest and shoulders by placing both your arms on the chair and slowly lifting your bottom.
5. Do invisible exercises
Not everyone will have a conducive environment to prance around with exercise. Switch to invisible exercise that can be quick and effective.
Women can do Kegels – tightening and loosening pelvic floor muscles that’ll do well for the leaky bladder and better for your intimate time in bed. Both men and women can try ab squeezes and butt clenches that works great for toning these specific muscles.
While to take a conscious step into becoming fit, don’t forget to watch what you are eating. Late hours and junk food often go hand in hand. Remember the geek Greek God can be a lethal combination.
Kavita is a certified sports & fitness nutritionist who loves to write about health and food on senseornosense.com. Before starting her blogging career she worked with Deloitte for 5 years. Other than writing, she also loves cooking a lot for her 4 years young Son.